The defeat of the Russian Empire in World War I led to the seizure of power
by the communists and the formation of the USSR. The brutal rule of Josef
STALIN (1924-53) consolidated communist rule of the Soviet Union at a
cost of tens of millions of lives. The Soviet economy and society stagnated
in the following decades until General Secretary Mikhail GORBACHEV
(1985-91) introduced glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) in
an attempt to modernize communism, but his initiatives inadvertently
released forces that by December 1991 splintered the USSR into 15
independent republics. Since then, Russia has struggled in its efforts to
build a democratic political system and market economy to replace the
strict social, political, and economic controls of the communist period.
Now, President Puten has been effectively a policy of re-centralising power
within the enormous Russian Federation, back to the Kremlin in Moscow.